Gauntlet – Arcade

Gauntlet Title Sreen

Little Bit of History: This arcade game (originally called: Dungeons) was developed by Atari and Published by Atari/U.S. Gold, Released in 1985. It’s been said the game was inspired by the son of one of the developers who enjoyed playing Dungeons & Dragons and the Atari 800 game: Dandy. The game was one of the first games to use and encourage Co-Op play and even characters with different strengths and weaknesses.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: There is no plot/story to this game. The main goal was to survive as many levels as possible. The basic gameplay mechanic was to just get to the exit of the current level to move onto the next, Collecting treasure and power ups along the way to improve your score.

Little Bit of Character: There were four main selectable heroes each with their own strengths and weaknesses including;
Thor the Warrior (Red) who was strong at hand to hand combat and could deal out and take the most damage, however this made him the slowest of the four and poor with magic.
Questor the Elf (Green) who was fast with above average magic but poor armor so could not take much damage.
Merlin the Wizard (Yellow) who was fairly fast and strongest with magic, but poor at everything else.
Thyra the Valkyrie (Blue) who was average at everything and a good beginner character.

Little Bit of Influence: The developers of Wolfenstein 3D (said to be the granddaddy of the FPS) have said they were influenced by Gauntlet when they made their game, and that influence shows with Wolfenstein 3D’s basic maze/dungeon crawling and basic objective of getting to the exit. One could say Gauntlet inspired the whole FPS genre.

Little Bit of Memories: I recall family holidays playing this game in the arcade with my older brothers. Also I remember one Christmas Eve when my mother had to go to work for a few hours leaving me and my two older brothers at home. So we took a peak at one of our Christmas presents by very carefully opening the wrapping of one of the presents revealing a Commodore 64 and a copy of Gauntlet. So we set up the Commodore 64, loaded up Gauntlet and played for a few hours before packing it all away and re-wrapping it up to be opened again on Christmas. Sorry Mom.

Little Bit of Playability: I still find the game very playable today and now we live in an age where we can have arcade perfect ports on our consoles and computers. If you can get a copy to play, it’s worth it and a great Co-Op experience.

Gauntlet Cabinet


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